College of Charleston gets rare gift 200 years later

(Joe O'Neill/WCIV)

By Victoria

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A gift to the College of Charleston will be delivered this week -- more than 200 years late.

It's a book recently discovered in the archives of the Charleston Library Society entitled, "Dissertation Upon Parties", by Henry St. John Lord Bolingbroke.

"I don't think any of us around here have really wanted to dive into it. It's al little dry," assistant librarian, Rob Salvo said.

Of course it is. It's about English politics of the 1700s.

But what is fascinating is how it's survived. It was part of collection of 800 books owned by Goose Creek planter and diplomat John Mackenzie. He donated the books to the College of Charleston when it was first founded.

Only there was one problem. The school didn't have a library yet.

"So it was held in the collections of the Library Society's which was all well and good until in 1778 a fire ripped through the society and destroyed a large amount of the collections," Salvo said.

The book was left standing, only no one knew it. It had been tucked back in the archives with hundreds of others.

"One of the great things about the book is that it is, it's a survivor."

In more than 200 years, it has survived not only fire, but earthquakes, hurricanes and war.

Now it's set to be given to back to the College of Charleston in a special ceremony Thursday May 10 at 9 a.m. at the Charleston Library Society downtown.

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